Can I use Silica Sand? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 12:54 AM Thread Starter
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Can I use Silica Sand?

Like this stuff.

I think my homedepot has it in black. It's used for fireplaces, and such.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 01:04 AM
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Grain size would matter a little, but silica sand is the same as play sand, quartz = silica, so yes, you can.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 01:05 AM
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Some people claim it leaches silicates in the water which cause brown diatom algae. I always thought silica sand was inert.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 01:10 AM
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I started that sand not being inert conversation on the reef boards years ago with Craig Bingaman. He was studying silica water concentrations. Rob Toonen was asserting that sand was inert.

I mentioned it is not the silicate that would be a problem in the sands, but feldspar minerals. It's not true that sand = aquarium glass; because most isn't "pure". However, your source water may be as large a issue as adding any substrate that may or may not contribute " a little" to your water.

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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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So, overall, it'll be fine? I've heard some say it's inert, and others say it's not. I believe it's inert, and I hope so. Because it's cheap, and available.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 01:19 AM
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I'd play it safe and just get regular black sand at your LFS. Tahitian moon sand. I like that stuff.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 01:22 AM
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It's not inert, I just posted that and a search will yield the same thing. However, just because it is not inert doesn't mean it's going to cause big problems. Clays generally have a high silica content and they are a high percentage of many planted substrates too

75g 3 T8s 2x OD, XP3, pres. CO2,
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 01:28 AM
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I have used it in numerous Tanganyikan tanks for yrs without ill effect.

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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So what do you guys think? Shall I try it? I'm low on budget for this tank now, and it looks like the only alternative.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 02:42 AM
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I'd play it safe and just get regular black sand at your LFS. Tahitian moon sand. I like that stuff.
I use this also and like it It is $20 if you price match it at Petsmart.


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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 02:46 AM
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I think the most important consideration is how is the sand made black, if that's what you're wanting. If it's truly black sand, go for it... that whole silicates/diatom thing is... well, it happens in just about every tank, regardless of substrate. I had no more issue with diatoms in my 10 gallon with play sand than I did in my 25 gallon with epoxy gravel or 75 gallon with Eco Complete.

You might also be able to locate 3M Color Quartz in black, it's sold for finishing the interiors of swimming pools and also a good choice. It's quartz sand coated in pigmented ceramic.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 03:14 AM
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You could try pool filter sand as well. I would say just look over the bag and decide if you want to take the risk. What you going to put under the sand for the roots?

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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Not sure if I'm going to use anything under the sand. It's a low light, low tech tank, so i'm not really sure yet. I'm still researching things right now, so keep the suggestions comming!
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 05:20 PM
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Most people seem to have good results with Pool Filter sand and you may want to compare the cost of Pool Filter sand from a local pool supply shop vs what you are paying for, for silicia sand.

I have two Tom Barr recommended low tech tanks. One is a 5 gallon. It has Seachem Onyx sand capped over, mulm, peat, and leonardite. Plants are doing really well and growing like weeds. No algae whatsoever - 100% No Joke.

I have 3 gallon low tech tank at work. Tahitian Moon Sand capped over mulm, peat, and leonardite. Plants are also growing like weeds. I only had diatom algae in that one and as soon as I threw in one Amano Shrimp, the diatom algae seemed to disappear as quickly as it appeared.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 02-01-2008, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homer_Simpson View Post
I have two Tom Barr recommended low tech tanks. One is a 5 gallon. It has Seachem Onyx sand capped over, mulm, peat, and leonardite. Plants are doing really well and growing like weeds. No algae whatsoever - 100% No Joke.
I have similar results on my 10g. I used onyx gravel instead to cap peat. Low light, non-co2. Zero algae and good plant growth.
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